Friday, January 30, 2015

The Year of Reading Dangerously: First Thoughts

I finished up Andy Miller's The Year of Reading Dangerously a few minutes ago while also finishing up a very slow-paced four-mile walk during which I only crossed paths with two other people...and that for all of 5 seconds or so.  I will be writing a more formal review of the book in a bit, but today I want to share some quotes from it that made me laugh a little, think a little, and add Andy Miller to the list of writers I would like to have coffee with one day.

At this point, just know that when, Miller decided to write the book, he was pushing forty, had a young child at home, and had pretty much quit reading actual books for pleasure.  Despite a love of books dating back as far as he can remember, the man just could not be bothered with them anymore.  Then he woke up...and he shares that awakening with the rest of us in The Year of Reading DangerouslyThat should set the tone for most of these quotes, some directly from Miller, and others he used in the book:

Alan Bennett's definition of a classic: "a book everyone is assumed to have read and often thinks they have."

Schopenhauer: "It would be a good thing to buy books if one could also buy the time to read them; but one usually confuses the purchase of books with the acquisition of their contents."

Again, Schopenhauer: "We remember our lives a little less well than a novel we once read."

And, one from Miller that made me laugh: "Each time someone breathlessly informed me they would never have read, say, A Confederacy of Dunces if it weren't for their new Kindle or Nook, all they were telling me was that they were a fully paid up confederate dunce."

Finally, this one in which Miller, who does own an e-reader, explains the conclusion he reached about the devices: If you like reading, this is the object you have been waiting for; but if you love reading as I do, you may struggle to comprehend what all the fuss is about.  Did it make reading better? Of course not.  It's a useful addition to our library, not a replacement for it.  I take the Kindle with me wherever I go.  But I also take a good book."


  1. Ha! I love Bennett's definition of a classic and both of Schopenhaur's quotes--especially the second one. Episodes in books from long ago often linger with me longer than even important occasions in my own life!

    1. The Bennett quote is my favorite because it hits so close to home. Almost every time I look at a list of classic books, there are several that I "think" I've read but I'm not positive that I'm not thinking that because I have read so much ABOUT them instead of actually having read the actual book. And I love the Schopenhaur quote about buy time to read the books...what a shame they don't come packaged together that way.